Welcome to Terspischore’s Atrium, where the Hermeneutic Chaos editors find delight in the elfin task of confronting writers and editors with some really tough questions.
Today, Shinjini Bhattacharjee, our Editor-in-Chief, interviews the amazingly talented Jermiah Walton, who, at the age of 19 has already carved a niche for himself in the literary field. He is the Founding Editor of Nostrovia! Poetry, and has been successfully managing several literary projects such as UndergroundBooks, W.I.S.H, The Travelling Poet, and the popular Books and Shovels Project. We urge you to visit his website to admire his literary genius, and then come back to enjoy the interview.
1. A common remark that most of us as young poets receive is that we should laud ourselves for contributing meaningful poems to the literary field at such a young age, and this is often accompanied with a mixture of mild surprise and wonder. Does this bother you in any way?
Ageism is obnoxious, but it doesn’t bother me much. People peopling. We can disprove them.
2. Why did you choose poetry as the medium to express yourself?
I honestly can’t answer that. It happened. I’m trying to stray away from written word and transition into video poems and adding multimedia to performances. Language alone is too limiting.
3.The most striking aspect about your poems is their exploration of the jagged, raw, and scarred realms of language and human experience, as opposed to the prim manicured composition many of the poets strive for. Poems such as ‘Campfire Psalms of the Lost and Angry ’,‘ Fearful 3 and ‘Where I found God’ are beautiful and unique precisely because of their haunting imagery, forceful language and a certain restless urgency that makes one sit up and take notice. How do your poems come into being?
Most of them are composed of vomit. They’ve been happening in car rides lately while running Books & Shovels. Wandering around results in poems. Conversation. It’s like twitching my knee. I record odd ball sayings, weird Facebook statuses, Tweets, noises of cities, campfires, whatever is in front of me, whatever is in my head.
4. You have been successfully managing numerous online and print ventures to publish and promote poetry, such as Nostrovia! Poetry, W.I.S.H., The Travelling Poet, UndergroundBooks, and the recent Books and Shovels project. How do you think can the literary magazines work actively to give voice to the writers unheard and the unknown?
Ignoring any form of literary prestige. Working with poets to promote poets, providing a call to action for those involved to be active with spreading the word and pushing poetry. With Books & Shovels, we’re stepping into other medians of passion and wonder, as while I have a deep respect for poetry, it’s not the most important aspect of this.
Poetry is not a product. It’s in your experience.
Passion is not a product. It enhances experience.
I try to network and promote the hell out of the press, cooperate with the poets directly, try and figure out ways we can work together to promote literature as a whole. Co-operating with other publishers and members of the artistic community pushes forward everyone.
5. One of your poetic beliefs that I really admire states that “The internet is a scream, and we are a whisper. We must work together to be loud.” How do you envisage this collaboration between a subjective psyche and an impersonal communicating agent to achieve a poetic fulfillment?
The impersonal agent, forms of sending out a mass message, is simply to incite awareness. The power lies in intimate social interaction. We can’t work together solely online, but it’s a start. We need to organize against the overarching structures of power that promote inequality, monetary drive, and inhibitions of freedom, both physically and of thought. Promoting passion and art will only drag us so far. These are medians to push awareness and creativity and wonderment, love of life, assisting others who are not in positions for such notions to find a sense of childhood.
Operating in shadows of childhood dangling from a noose composed of dreams, we need to organize against hindrances towards human potential.
How? I don’t know yet. I’m knotting and untieing restlessness and apathy in my belly too. Why try to cause change in the Human Zoo when there’s a self to wander after? I went off on a typed tangent that I don’t want to ignore, but to answer your question directly, Facebook, Twitter, all of these things can be made personal, but only to the extent of what the individual wants to project. The face to face interactions, in the streets, performing, at shows, festivals, these are the places to promote art, to promote change, to become a scream.
6. Where do you start writing? Where do you stop?
I stepped away from editing poems for a while, and would take what I learned from each piece, and apply it to the next. I’m starting to resume doing so. I write poems in my head on walks to be forgotten. The end is abrupt to me.
7. Is Jeremiah Walton, the person, different from Jeremiah Walton, the author?
I project as much of myself as I want to through social media and what is available to read online. I’m just me. I’m not going to cultivate some alter-ego to set up expectations from others that fall to shit. I’d rather connect with others who I can hang out with and enjoy the company of than connect with others through a false personality that I have to adapt to for every little social circumstance. But hell, that’s not easy, and I’m sure I slip through the cracks of each persona from time to time. I’m me. People peopling.
I’m happy you asked this question.
7. Describe your day with poetry on 5th September 2045 as an acrostic poem.
“There’s a painting somewhere
in my skull, graffiti
reading something meaningful.
End the day
dancing, fuck art.
eternity is here to stay.”